Fruit crumble is quintessential winter comfort food. Chewy, buttery, gooey, hot. I had forgotten how much I liked it until this afternoon. Will and I picked up a bag of brown sugar on the way home from brunch in a nearby town. Once home I ran out to the apple trees at the bottom of the garden in my father’s loafers and plucked four apples from the tree. Mama extracted a bag of blackberries from the depths of the freezer, lovingly picked some long ago summer noon. There’s a particular satisfaction in making something with the fruits that grow just beyond your door – and a tactile joy in crunching the sugar and butter between floury fingers. Even better, crumble is truly foolproof, even for self-proclaimed hit-and-miss bakers like yours truly.
For the crumble
300g plain flour (though I used self-raising and it didn’t seem to matter one bit)
150g brown sugar
200g cubed butter (room temperature)
For the filling
A helping of soft fruit (blackberries grow in our garden and are a particular favourite) as small or as large as you please
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
Place the crumble ingredients in a large bowl. Using your hands, knead the butter into the flour and sugar until a fine crumble results.
Peel and chop the apples.
Place the fruit mixture into a dish of your choice. Sprinkle with a few teaspoons of sugar and soften in the microwave for approximately two minutes. Stir.
Cover the fruit mixture with the crumble topping and finish with a sprinkling of brown sugar.
Bake in the oven for approximately 30-40 minutes until the crumble is browned and the fruit juices oozing around the edges.
Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and a smile!